Nathaniel Ru is one of three start up CEOs for the company Sweetgreen. Sweetgreen has been sweeping the nation over the past decade as one of the more innovative, exciting, and inspiring restaurants in the northeast.
Sweetgreen is a high end salad chain that focuses as much on healthy food as it does customer immersion and community engagement. Ru has been the unlikely face leading the company’s trio of CEOs and he has been more than willing to open up about what makes Sweetgreen special. Read more: Nathaniel Ru Blazes a Trail in The Height Food Industry | Affiliate Dork
Sweetgreen was a concept that Ru and two of his co-founders started to work on while taking an entrepreneurship class at Georgetown University. Ru and his partners would brainstorm during class and then they would develop the core tenants of what they wanted their company to stand for on the weekends. Read more: Nathaniel Ru | Dynamic Dialogues
Eventually it got to the point that the group wanted to take their concept to reality and this meant reaching out to try and secure a space, investors, and an active audience of consumers.
Ru would be the first to tell you that right after graduating college he and his co-founders were less ready than they should have been in terms of taking the concept forward, but luck shined on them and their charisma kept the idea alive.
Ru and his team located a small location in Washington DC’s downtown area, an old tavern that was located on M Street. It was only 560 square feet in size but they knew that this was to be where their dream got started.
So, Ru and his team called the landlord of the building and explained their goals. The landlord hung up on them almost immediately. That didn’t stop the Sweetgreen team and after a month of calling the landlord at least once a day, they finally secured a sit down meeting.
Ru laughs and adds that this was the first and last time he ever wore a suit to a meeting. In any event, they managed to convince the landlord to open the space and over the next three weeks they found a team of investors, an architect, and a business plan.
Ru says, “Now I know how blessed we were to get that chance. We would never be able to do it that way again. The timing was just right.” Sweetgreen has been in operation ever since and Ru and his team have held firm to their core concept: good food at a good price for good people.